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CAT MUMMIES by Kelly Trumble


by Kelly Trumble & illustrated by Laszlo Kubinyi

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Aug. 16th, 1996
ISBN: 0-395-68707-1
Publisher: Clarion

 Why did the ancient Egyptians mummify cats by the hundred of thousands? Why were there cemeteries with tons of charred cat bones? Trumble addresses these and other questions matter-of-factly in her first book, incorporating information on Egyptian myths, animal cults, cat worship, mummification practices, ancient Egyptian history, and 19th-century archaeological discoveries. Unconditional statements about beliefs (``Anubis, the god of tombs, lived in a jackal's body because jackals often prowled around tombs''), events, and practices will appear, to children, as cold facts instead of conjecture and speculation. Trumble states with certainty that Egyptians worshipped and revered their cats. Only in an end note, nearly 40 pages later, does she note that X rays of some cat and kitten mummies indicate cats were deliberately strangled. A throwaway line about priests sacrificing cats will not help readers understand the contradiction (or even hint to them that history, drawn from sources that are limited, incomplete, or conflicting, is full of such contradictions). Kubinyi's highly detailed, softly colored drawings bring immediacy to ancient events and objects. With its compelling topic, the book will work best when complemented by other, more comprehensive, sources on Egypt. (chronology, notes, glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)